Outstanding, young man!

Connal Gurbach received two prestigious awards for his work with the Pasquia Snow Goers

by Marie Milner

Teenage boy wearing a baseball cap and T-shirt holds two plexiglass awards
Connal Gurbach was awarded provincial and national awards for his work in supporting snowmobiling. Photo courtesy Connal Gurbach

At less than six months old, Connal Gurbach and his twin sister, Amanda, spent their first Christmas at the family’s cabin in the Pasquia Hills near their home in Carrot River, Saskatchewan. Their parents are longtime snowmobilers who wanted to continue their tradition of Christmas at the cabin, so they bundled up the twins and took them along.

Young Gurbach shares his parents’ love for sledding. At just 12 years old, he was awarded the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association's (SSA) Outstanding Junior Achiever of the Year Award in 2012. This year, Gurbach received national recognition when he was given the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations' (CCSO) Excellence Award for Outstanding Youth (Pete Greenlaw Award).

“I couldn’t go to the national awards show because we were busy on the farm and I was also in school,” said Gurbach. "A board member from the SSA accepted the award on my behalf and they presented it to me at the (SSA) Diamonds in the Snow awards night.”

What it's really about

These awards are, of course, more about working hard to support and promote the sport than they are about sledding. It is significant that Gurbach—who is a member of the Pasquia Snow Goers snowmobile club—has already become such a dedicated volunteer.

“I have done volunteering with the Pasquia Snow Goers,” Gurbach said, “and I’ve helped with trail clearing and grooming. I helped rescue the groomer last year when it got stuck in a beaver pit, and then helped to service the groomer after it got pulled out. Getting the award isn’t really about sledding, it’s about being dedicated over a long period of time—but it’s been fun too.”

Loving the sport and looking ahead

Gurbach does, of course, love snowmobiling, and he aspires to become an expert at riding on all kinds of snow. He has gained a lot of experience already—last winter he logged 2,800 miles riding solo.

Gurbach currently rides a 2008 Yamaha Phaser GT, and he likes his dad’s sled, a 2013 800 Polaris Switchback—but his dream machine is a 600 Pro RMK by Polaris.

“It’s got a good track, a rebuilt Polaris suspension and a quick-drive model for the engine,” he said. “It’s not too big and heavy, and overall it’s better for the kind of sledding I do.”

Gurbach said that when he grows up he’d like to work with heavy equipment.

“Or maybe I could get a job with Polaris,” he said. “That would be cool!”

Given his history of achievement, Polaris would be lucky to have him.

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